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Newspaper Page Text
'THE PUBLIC BUILDING PORK-BARREL IS A
CLEAR CASE OF GRAFT IN CONGRESS"
' BY HERBERT QUICK
(Copyright, 191, by the Newspaper
i Enterprise Associatfon.)
(f "The prospect for -a ,$40,000,000
i public building appropriation by the
it present congress is not bright."
Thus read the dispatches from
I The United States has lost a sum
II of money in the past by erecting pub
' lie 'buildings, which is equalled by no
1 item of loss, perhaps, except that
j caused by not building them.
J In both cases the losses have
J grown out of one cause the pres-
sure of the land owners for profits.
j All over the United States country
I villages are furnished with great cut-
stone buildings erected out of the
pork-barrel fund for postoffices and
federal courthouses. They represent
utter and shameful waste. They
have, as a rule, cost sums, the bare
interest on which would pay rent for
They were wasteful because they
have been expended for four-story
buildings in two-story towns. They
represent a very high and genteel
form of graft, but graft none the less.
This graft has been divided between
the congressman and local parties.
The local parties have receiyed graft
in the form of money for their un
salable city lots and for the contracts
awarded for the putting up of the
buildings. The congressmen have
received as their share of graft the
chance to go before unthinking au
diences and say, "Re-elect me! See
how much money I've got for the dis
trict!" I personally would not vote for any
man so low in political morals as to
make claim for credit under such
conditions. I think many voters are
coming to feel the same way. To me
it sounds too much like a crook
boasting of the swag he has "cut up"
with the gang.
These Unwarranted huilding oper
ations have furnished graft for land
lords. On the other hand, in the city
of Washington, the government loses
enormous sums to landlords because
it does not build. The other day I
visited a department officer, who said
"We are now moving into a build-
ing, the floors of which are too weak
to hold the load which I feel sure our
files will place on them before long.
I guess I'll die with my boots on when
the building collapses."
Scattered all over the city are all
sorts of old rookeries, occupied by the
government departments, and for
which it pays huge rentals. It has
the land on which it might build, and
the money with which to build. But
the real estate ring which makes so
many millions out of rentals is cred
ited with the pull to slow down the
building program where it should be
speeded up. Something mysterious
slows it down.
I think I should like to see a forty
million dollar appropriation for
buildings where they are needed. I
think it would pay us as a people.
HE SURE DID!
"Did you hire that plumber I.rec-.J
ommended to you?"
"How did he turn out?"
"Oh, he filled the bill, all jightl" J
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